6 May 2017
Walking a mountain trail, even an easy one like the Panorama Trail, it is wise not to underestimate the weather. When the snow began to fall we left the breathtaking views and headed back along the trail, unsure if this was just a snow shower or something more worrying. The cloud we’d seen earlier looked to have a whole load of snow to dump and being underneath it when it did didn’t seem the best of plans. Not on the edge of a mountain anyway.
For a little while it looked as if it was getting harder. Not a blizzard of Icelandic proportions, but fat flakes falling all around us in flurries. Then, as we came closer to Summit Lodge, the sun came out and the snow slowly eased. The cloud seemed to be gradually lifting from the mountain top.
Back at Summit Lodge the little gondolas were still going up and down, unphased by a little snow. Soon we’d have to climb aboard one and leave the stunning mountain views behind. First, Jen couldn’t resist another go on the slack line. Then we went inside the Lodge and got coffee to warm us.
The journey back to earth seemed somehow more unsettling that the journey into the sky, in much the same way that walking down a steep hill is more difficult than climbing it. It may not require the same muscular effort but there’s something about the downward motion that disturbs the equilibrium. At the bottom we stood for a while staring up at The Chief, trying to work out where we’d been standing earlier looking down. It was impossible to tell. The huge snow cloud was now merely a whisp of a thing.
There was some discussion about heading inwards to Whistler or taking a closer look at Shannon Falls. The former would have meant another forty miles and the latter a convoluted detour and time wasn’t on our side so we headed back towards Vancouver instead. There was one more stop at a viewpoint on Cypress Bowl Road. Jen thought we could do with a chance to stretch our legs before we got into the traffic heading back into the city. As a bonus we got a fabulous view over the whole of Vancouver.
It was just a small layby at the side of the road but it was alive with golden yellow dandelions and other unidentifiable wild flowers that weren’t yet actually flowering. It looked down over a tree lined hillside at the Salish Sea with its waiting tankers and little boats. Between the trees we could see Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge.
A butterfly fluttered past and, to my surprise, stopped on the pine needle covered earth at our feet. From this vantage point Vancouver with all its buildings and little mounds of skyscrapers looked like a strange crystalline growth on the surface of a mossy rock.
We’d had a faboulous day, going back and forth between the sea and the sky. We’d seen sunshine and snow, sea and mountainous forest. Now it was time to make one last trip back to the sea and become part of the crystal city of Vancouver.
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